Ivory Coast made a stunning comeback to win Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal, earning a place in the semifinals, where South Africa would later join them.
Oumar Diakite emerged as the star player, netting a remarkable backheel in added time, sealing a thrilling 2-1 win over Mali. He initially took the lead through Nene Dorgeles. Despite Odilon Kossounou’s red card reducing Ivory Coast to 10 men, Simon Adingra equalised in the 90th minute, pushing the game into extra time. Diakite’s decisive strike in extra time clinched victory but earned him a red card for removing his shirt in celebration.
However, Ivory Coast faces setbacks as suspensions sideline key players including Diakite, Kossounou, Serge Aurier, and Christian Kouame for the upcoming semifinal against the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The last time Ivory Coast reached the semifinals was in 2015, winning the tournament for the second time after defeating DR Congo 3-1.
Despite difficulties, Ivory Coast has persevered throughout this competition, narrowly making it to the knockout round and defeating host Senegal in a tense match. Mali’s missed opportunities, including Adama ‘Noss’ Traore’s saved penalty, added to their defeat. Post-match, the Malian team faced potential disciplinary actions for confrontations with the referee.